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Canada will have its own LGBTI library by and for queer people of color

Canada will have its own LGBTI library by and for queer people of color

An array of colorful books at a library

Two friends from Winnipeg, Canada, have created a space for all LGBTI people of color in their own city.

Renu Shonek and Carla Taylor have founded a library where all two-spirit, queer, trans and black, indigenous and people of color can feel represented.

The focus is on people of color

‘Representation is a huge [issue],’ Shonek told CBC Arts.

‘There’s a whole lot of people that we didn’t hear voices of, especially people of color and especially queer people of color. There’s a lot of people that didn’t have people to look towards.’

‘We’re focused 100% on people of color — the books, the poetry, the everything. [Usually] everywhere you go white people are heard, and POC aren’t,’ they add.

Those identifying as two-spirit are welcome

For Taylor, who identifies as two-spirit, making sure this specific identity is represented is especially important.

‘It was important to me personally because I am two-spirit,’ she explains.

‘It’s important to set this all up in a good way that honors the land that we’re on.’

Taylor also sees creating the library as a way to fight against the colonial structures limiting people like her.

‘As a two-spirit person, part of the whole idea of colonization is that it is set up to do exactly what it’s doing in the world: when a two-spirit or QTBIPOC does something, they’re doing it outside of the system. And so often they have to struggle to create anything, so it’s so important to create the spaces that we want.’

Where will the library be?

The library will be housed in Revolution Wellness Centre, the wellness center Taylor owns. Her clinic also offers trans health services.

‘So we’re a space for people who have maybe been discriminated against,’ she said.

‘This library really fit into the vision of the space: we really wanted to provide resource space to 2SQTBIPOC people.’

Shonek and Taylor are fundraising but assured that renovations should take place in spring.

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